Concerns about climate change have shifted from an “inconvenient fact” to a “real and present danger.”
Over the past three decades, experts and political leaders have tried to find solutions through mitigation and adaptation. They regularly meet in exotic locations, taking private jets and public flights, increasing their carbon footprint. Sometimes small commitments are made; many of them are only later ignored, rescheduled, or implemented in batches. Even schoolchildren are beginning to question the adequacy of these measures and the sincerity of world leaders in combating climate change.
Many experts proudly claim that human ingenuity has successfully prevented the Malthusian population bomb. The global population, currently 9 billion, is expected to grow to more than 12 billion by the 2070s and then stabilize. Does the earth have the capacity to support so many people who desire everything in life? We therefore need to reframe Malthusian questions about population growth and food production. Can the production of everything (all goods and services) grow exponentially to satisfy the insatiable needs and desires of a growing population?
mobility, mass tourism
Mobility has taken on new meanings and dimensions as people travel around the world on luxury airliners, private jets/vehicles, and ever-expanding forms of public transportation. More and more people are lining up to reach the mountain. Adventure tourism is permeating everything from outer space to the deepest trenches of the oceans to the heart of the poles. A new generation is speaking out on climate change and is at the forefront of adventure/mass tourism and mass consumption.
Even with net-zero emissions technology, can the production of all such transportation be sustainable? Even with a net-zero product, what do you do with explosive waste? The government and people are working hard to adapt wild animals to human civilization. They need to be protected, radio-collared, microchipped and vaccinated against disease, among other things. Yet wild animals do not need such protection. Wild animals and forests thrive without any support from civilized humans. Can we stop plundering forests and condoning wild animals in the name of protecting them? Can we stop mass travel into the heart of the jungle to poke animals?
This Gandhi Jayanti wants a new approach to combating climate change. Consumption in moderation, reducing non-essential travel and large gatherings, and not interfering with forests and wildlife. A global approach to these steps will be the first solution. Individuals and countries can also adopt policies to reduce consumption in these areas.
Won’t it reduce economic growth? Yes, some steps might. To mitigate these effects, start with extreme activities such as adventure travel and mass tourism to vulnerable areas, and gradually moderate consumption. There is still a lot of good, useful activity, especially in developing countries. Therefore, the net impact on growth will not be large. Growth at all costs helps no one anyway; overheating growth and heating the planet will only lead to massive explosions.
Fortunately, the new generation doesn’t have to sacrifice much. They have modern technology.They can travel and see almost every part of the world
(The author is the director of the National Securities Market Research Institute) The views expressed are purely personal.